Paperwork, rule changes barriers to workplace safety

A worrying 81% of Australian small businesses don’t fully understand their workplace safety obligations

The Employsure Workplace Safety Index, conducted by Employsure, also found that only half of small businesses are confident that they meet their obligations across all areas of workplace safety.

Small business finds it too complex and time-consuming to keep up with the changes and paperwork required, the survey results, released today, reveal.

The Employsure Workplace Safety Index highlights the top five safety issues facing small business as:

  • the complexity of the rules;
  • constant changing of the rules;
  • amount of paperwork;
  • time required for compliance; and
  • staff being careless.

As October is Safe Work Month, this is a good time to address safety across Australian workplaces, the workplace relations firm says.

“Small business owners want to do the right thing but we hear from them daily that they feel crippled by the complexity of what they are required to do,” says Employsure’s Managing Director, Ed Mallet.

“They are swamped and struggling to keep their head above water.”

Only one in five small businesses feel confident to implement their workplace safety plan, while only 46% have a clear understanding of how to manage and address bullying.

Also concerning is that less than 60% know their responsibilities should an employee get injured.

“Our research found that small businesses want to improve their workplace safety, particularly around improved documentation, managing bullying, training staff and responding to an injury,” Mr Mallet says.

“They want to do more, but often don’t know how.”

Small business employers don’t know where to go to find help with over one third admitting they rely on Google for the answers.

“With about five million Australians employed by small businesses, it’s so important that we get safety right and minimise the complexities and drain that compliance creates to keep workplaces safe. This isn’t just a workplace issue, this is a national issue.”

The Employsure Workplace Safety Index was conducted in August 2017 by Galaxy Research to track Australian small business’ understanding and confidence in planning, managing and implementing their workplace health and safety obligations.

A Pharmacy Guild spokesperson said: “Pharmacists need to be aware of the importance of  being vigilant in regard to all aspects of staff welfare including safety in the workplace as part of their duty of care.

“Guild members have access to workplace advisors and information resources to ensure they are kept abreast of current WHS developments  and that they  understand their rights, responsibilities and obligations in maintaining a safe workplace for all.”

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